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Kim Jong Nam murder suspect thought hit was a prank: lawyer

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A Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother with a nerve agent thought she was taking part in a practical joke and only realised he was dead after her arrest, a court heard Tuesday.
Doan Thi Huong is on trial with Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah over the Cold War-style killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 last year.

Defence lawyers have argued that the women were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were instead tricked into becoming inadvertent assassins, in an elaborate plot by a group of North Korean agents.

The women, in their 20s, have denied murdering Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother by smearing VX nerve agent on his face as he waited for a flight to Macau. They face death by hanging if found guilty.

Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the trial that one of four North Koreans suspected of involvement in the murder had recruited the Vietnamese woman to perform what she thought were pranks.

According to Huong’s police statement presented to the High Court in Shah Alam, she travelled to Malaysia not long before the assassination.

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In the days before the murder, Huong went to Kuala Lumpur airport twice and met the North Korean, whom she knew as Mr. Y, according to the statement.

The court previously heard his real name was Ri Ji Hyon, and he fled Malaysia shortly after the murder with the other North Korean suspects.

Under his instructions Huong carried out pranks which involved sneaking up behind people and rubbing her hands on their face, the court heard.

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On the day of the assassination, Mr Y. gave her an oily substance that she rubbed on the face of a man.

After washing her hands, she took a taxi back to her hotel.

She only found out he was dead on February 16 — a day after her arrest — when police told her, according to her statement.

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Aisyah, who attacked Kim around the same time as Huong, also claimed she was hired to conduct pranks.

“Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong are scapegoats,” lawyer Hisyam told the court, as he questioned the chief investigating police officer, Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz. The trial continues.


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Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump

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Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.

"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."

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Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush

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The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.

That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.

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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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